Thou shall not kill? A Socio-biblical Perspective on the Legitimation of Killing

by Nestor Ravilas

We live in a confusing time. People are getting killed. It is rising to about six thousand from the time killing season was officially inaugurated. And there is no sign of letting-up as the deadline given by the president is now approaching. There are about 30 dead people every night. And none of them was able to prove her innocence or guilt in the law of court. And in all these, we have in the congress the effort to revive the death penalty. That is where the farce comes in. What the hell is the purpose of the resuscitation of the death penalty when you can kill suspects in an instant, and hence circumventing the rigor of court battle and of subsequent imprisonment once the suspect is found guilty? The revival does not make any sense other than the two, the revival of death penalty and the spate of killings, are all about spilling of blood in which, seemingly, this government finds fetish with.

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Embedded Violence: President Duterte and the Evangelical Violent Formation

by Nestor Ravilas

In recent exchange between two of prominent public intellectuals, Catherine Mills questioned Judith Butler’s positive stance on non-violence debate. Mills’ pessimism stems from the assumption that there is violence through which a subject is formed, an idea which Butler herself shared with Mills. In a similar vein, Slavoj Zizek, a prolific philosopher, asks how one can repudiate violence since struggle and aggression are part of life. Butler sees a possible break out from this iterable cycle of violence, while Mills and Zizek on the other hand are both skeptics of this “breaking out” since violence is part of humanity’s “constitutive possibilities” and they would naturally conduct themselves in violence that formed and produced them.

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A Different Gospel

by Nestor Ravilas
Jesus in the Book of Matthew underscores that it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of God apart from being righteous. He even qualifies it more by saying that it has to surpass the righteousness of the prominent religious leaders of his time – those who were culturally accorded with such pious signification. Some people might tend to pick other pertinent vocabulary within the economy of words of the gospel, but we could not do away with the word “righteousness” as it is inextricably associated with our entrance to eternal bliss. What does the word “righteousness” mean therefore is crucial in understanding the gospel.
The word came from the root word “right”.

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The Night God and Humanity Died

by Fred Laceda

by Elie Wiesel (from a book cover)

The emergence of modernity is the beginning of the end for an old world. The passing of the pre-modern world is hailed particularly by the Enlightenment as humanity’s way to maturity. The religious hegemony was shattered, leaving in its wake the church on a house arrest. Nietzsche declared God is dead. The new secular consensus has shown God the door, exiled to the private longings of the faithful. The optimistic air breathed by 19th century peeps was literally replaced by the acid gas of the early part of the next century. After two centuries, the twentieth seems to be the limit-test of the modern adventure. Fissures, caesurae, crisis, and the collapse of old certainties are reality check to the utopia by modern, enlightened humanity. What seems to be a promising future for collective humanity is turning like a bad dream; a nightmare that up to now haunts the modern period.

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The Narrative of Paul: Politics of Memory and the Subversion of Gospel Story

by Nestor Ravilas

paulI was in a classroom and challenged.  The teacher stood feisty waiting for more responses.  I was in a retreat mode; even John 1:1 was already offered to prove the divinity of Jesus, but to no avail.  Most of the first chapter of the Gospel of John is not part of the gospel story, the teacher insisted.  It was the author’s introduction of the gospel story which technically started in verse 19.  Thus it was alien to the sacred story which was entrusted and eventually become the guiding light of the emerging community inspired by the incessant retelling of this story.

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